When I was younger my friends often expressed some hostility toward me leaving. They sometimes say, more often just wonder openly without asking, "Why are you leaving this place where we live and have our good lives? Is there something wrong? Something wrong with me? Am I missing something I should have that you are going to find that I won't?"
I say good-bye easily. I have deep attachments to some people, and yet that depth is not so deep that I don't yank myself up and say good-bye anyway. I watch old movies, and all those people have had their lives, and they are dead now. Silly of me, I say good-bye to them when the movie ends. All the old people I knew as a kid, they're all dead, too. Good-bye.
This voluntary giving up of life is suicidal in its way; it's also living a new life in another realm, as it were. It ends. It's a mad world. I'll probably miss it when I leave it for good. But not yet, I think.
A friend is dying, maybe only weeks, could be months. We all go sometime. I'm going sometime too, though to a different place, I think. I give up what I have here for something else elsewhere. I've never been anywhere that I didn't like. I smile at the thought of leaving, and I smile at the thought of arriving.
I think I can maintain this blog when I go. I'll retain some of you as friends in this aethereal space, being no different man there than I am here, and you being as god-like in authorial voice as always. I hope you'll join me in my travels, wherever that might take me. We'll see in a few months or so. I have people to say good-bye to, childish things to put away, plans to make. I'll take a few things with me. I sit, will sit, too, in some place, a supplicant at the Gates of Mystery, wondering what this is all about, why I couldn't have stayed home. I'll leave this place. I'll leave this girl. I'll remember.
I remember, at the edge of the tomb, the milling of the quick, her shy, sly grin as she glanced, "Is it me?"
Old, old, old. She was old. Her neck had slid down her collar and her eyes had sunken into sockets, her lips shrivelled, her hair stiff and yellowed. She was beauty in the cold sunlight on the brown grass. "And I remember 30 years ago when you said...." Her eyes shone. I remembered 30 years before, and I saw her then. I saw her in her aged beauty. My old hand on her old cheek.
Be near me when my light is low,
When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick
And tingle; and the heart is sick,
And all the wheels of Being slow.
Be near me when the sensuous frame
Is rack'd with pangs that conquer trust;
And Time, a maniac scattering dust,
And Life, a Fury slinging flame.
Alfred Lord Tennyson, "In Memoriam A.H.H.," Section 50.
My friend, be near me when my light is low.
Hello, J., I must leave.